'Arcadia,' a monumental British Neoclassical collaborative painting

By Irving, William (British, 1866-1943) | Macklin, Thomas Eyre (British, 1867-1943)


Invoking the idyllic paradise of Arcadia from Greek myth, this beautiful Neoclassical painting embodies the height of the British Arts & Crafts movement.


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This wonderful painting, of exceptionally large size, depicts a group of women dancing and singing in 'Arcadia,' the Classical mythological idyll often invoked in poetry and literature as the true pastoral paradise.

By a pair of British artists working in the so-called Arts & Crafts movement that flourished in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, it consists of very large canvas, twice as wide as it is tall, set with a small narrow wooden frame of similar dimensions, and is decorated by a large, internal, painted border with Celtic-inspired designs.

Arcadia is a beautiful and ancient region of the Peleponnese in Greece. An insulated, mountainous landscape, it became celebrated as an unspoilt wilderness and place of oustanding beauty even in antiquity, and was thus chosen as the home of the gods Hermes and Pan and as the setting of many a pastoral poem, inspiring art for centuries to come.

The present painting takes liberties with the natural setting, placing it by the sea, and transforming it into a cross between a Mediterranean and a British paradise: appropriating Neoclassical themes and subjects and infusing them with a subtle yet noticeable English and Victorian quality.

The artists, Thomas Eyre Macklin (1867-1943) and William Irving (1866-1943), both studied at the Newcastle school of art early in their careers. This particular collaboration dates to 1911, exectued in oil on canvas, mounted in a thin wooden frame, and signed and dated lower left 'T. Eyre Macklin / & William Irving / 1911.'

Frame: height 185cm, width 366cm, depth 3cm
Canvas: height 182cm, width 364cm


Artist / Maker
By Irving, William (British, 1866-1943), Macklin, Thomas Eyre (British, 1867-1943)
Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
Early 20th Century
Arts & Crafts, Figurative Art, Landscape, Marine / Seascape, Neoclassical
Oil on Canvas


185 cm / 72.8 inches
366 cm / 144.1 inches
3 cm / 1.2 inches


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